Painting Tips by a Professional

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Electric Nail Gun: The Best of Every Variety

Here are the top electric nailers in every category of nail gun: only the best of the best are here. I’ve learned that the best way to save money is to keep quality tools for life.

Here I’ve recommended a good electric nail gun in every gauge. The big winner in my reviews turns out to be Hitachi, but I’m not connected to that company in any way.

Electric Nail Gun that will last a lifetime: only top-of-the-line electric nailers here.

Quick quiz: Where does the number in the “gauge” come from? Why is, for example, ’15-gauge’, called 15? Answer at the bottom. Old guys like me know boring trivia.

The Pin Nailer: smallest electric nail gun

I really love all of my Makita tools. This Makita 12-volt won my vote. Makita makes a more expensive electric pin gun, but the reviews for this are much better. Check the price online.

Good old Makita. Never let me down. My only regret is that nobody makes an angle-feed electric pin nailer. Oh, how I looked.

  • Shoots 6 different sizes from 5/8″ up to 1+3/8″
  • No-tool depth adjustment
  • Very narrow nose and cannot dry fire
  • 3-year warranty
  • Pricey, but real quality
  • LED lamp
  • Reversible belt hook (for you lefties)
  • Battery and charger and case not included 🙁
  • Battery is on this page (not that expensive for 2)

Only 4 lbs: nice. I reviewed other pin nailers and it includes some budget electric nail guns of this size on this page.

Brad Nailer: most popular size

My baby is the 18V Hitachi (now called Metabo), 18-gauge. It’s quality and yes, you pay for it. But it does not break down like the budget guns. It’s a ‘cry once’ situation. Battery included. Price online here.

Brad nailers in general: 18-gauge brads for lightweight trim like door stops, etc and leave a very small hole which sometimes need no hole filler.

  • Size brads are min: 5/8-inch, max: 2-inch
  • Free jams w/o tool and the anti-dry-fire lock
  • Lifetime warranty (limited)
  • A window showing nails left before re-load
  • Bump or sequential easy to change
  • Lighter Li. battery with more power than others (3.0 Ah)
  • Zero ramp-up time: nice
  • Over 1,500 nails per charge: more than others I’ve seen
  • Easy depth adjustment and the belt hook pivots: nice
  • Uses a blast of air so the recoil is like pneumatic
  • LED lamp: no battery indicator LED 🙁
  • Comes with a carrying bag: see my accessories for a good hard case

This is hands down the best electric brad nailer out there. My full comparison with other styles is on this page.

By Arrow. General Custer wore their shirts.

Note: While shopping originally I searched everywhere for an electric brad nailer with an angled magazine. Then I realized why they don’t make them. It’s not really needed so much for this size nail. It’s the finish-sized where you have tight corners.

Don’t want to cut the cord? Some corded electric brad nail guns do exist, but not in top brand names, and I’d never go there.

Arrow the office supply maker has one if you dare, and the VanHaus 18 gauge has decent reviews, but I cannot tell you anything about that brand and can’t recommend it either way. The price is very low which to me is a red flag.

See all the brad nailers, two other electrics I like and some pneumatics compared on my other post.

The Finish Nailer: a great electric nail gun

Electric finishing nail guns for interior trim such as door frames, hardwoods, thick plywood, MDF.

See price online of my TOP CHOICE. My top choice is once again the awesome 18 volt, angled, 15-gauge from, once again Metabo (formerly “Hitachi”).

electric nail gun by hitachi now called metabo
Same tool. New name. Hitachi is now called Metabo after the German company (short for metal boring, their name for a drill).
  • Min: 1¼-inch, max: 2½-inch nails
  • Bump/Sequential easy to switch
  • Plenty big Li. battery: 3.0Ah (over 1000 shots per charge)
  • “Anti-dry-fire” safety
  • No-tool jam release: but all new models have this
  • Lifetime warranty (limited)
  • Belt hook and a LED light + LED battery indicator
  • Slot showing nails left in the magazine
  • Battery carry bag included, but not a hard case. See my accessory page.

I also use the 15 electric nail gun for small framing work (not 2×4’s).

  • My runner-up electric finish nailer is a 16 gauge: the Bostitch 20V (slightly smaller nails). It’s angled, and also has a brushless motor. See the runner-up here.

A corded finish nailer does not exist to my knowledge. I’d love one: if you find one please let me know in the comments below?

Full comparison with electric and pneumatic powered guns on this page.

Framing Nailer: the big boy

Electric Nail Gun: Internal workings of an electric nailer by Hitachi
A durable system: air-driven electric nail gun.

Show stopper: the 18V angle-feed electric framing nailer from the top maker. Hitachi now called “Metabo”. See the price here: it’s worth every penny.

  • Min: 2-inch, max: 3½-inch nails
  • Brushless motor: thank you
  • Air spring drive system: compressed air driver
  • Easy switch from bump to sequential fire modes
  • Up to 3.5-inch nails
  • “No-dry-fire” protection
  • Tool-less depth adjust
  • Release a jam tool-free: all newest models have this
  • 3-year warranty (others are noted)
  • Belt hook (many are reversible)
  • A slot showing how many nails are left before you need to re-load
  • Comes with a carrying bag, but get a good hard toolbox (#2 on this list)

This is an electric framing nailer worth every penny. It’s for life. Put it in your Last Will. There was a time when an electric framing nailer was hard to come by, but today it’s all different.

The only thing they don’t make: a corded electric framing nailer. Someday maybe. But the lithium batteries today are great.

Read my comparison with pneumatics and gas and other electric framing nailers on this page.

Even electric framing nailers are loud, and you cannot do without ear protection. This 3M gives great protection at an affordable price.

Bonus: Non-electric Brad Nailer and Stapler

No, I don’t mean a hammer!

For quickies, a non-electric brad nailer stapler is what I bought here. The DeWalt stapler/brad nailer that is purely mechanical: no power needed. Love that DeWalt lists Stanely and Arrow brad and arrow sizes alongside the DeWalt sizes stamped right on the gun. They are unafraid of competition! Seem my quick video on this gun.

Full comparison with other guns on this page.

If you are buying your first electric nailer, go with the brad nailer (not just because this my name is Brad!). We use it more than any other.

Nail Set and Nailer Accessories

See what’s on this short post where I put together a fairly complete list of accessories like hole filler, and especially some quality nail sets. You don’t need colorcoded nail sets! You need American steel. At the bottom is my blurb on how to use a nail set with a video.

Any questions? I’ll be in the comment area below!

Final thoughts: Careful! “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” There are about 37,000 Emergency Room visits from nailguns every year.

Trivia Answer

Where does the “gauge” in 15- or 18 gauge come from?

If you can lay 18 nails side by side in one inch (not counting any heads), you have 18-gauge nails.

Here is my short video on nail sets and how nail gauges are named.

Here is my one minute video on that:


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